50 Comment

  • It totally depends on your budget. I’ve found the most reasonably priced places to be Old Ebbitt, Hill Country, DGS and Agora. They can all accommodate 40-50 people. You can do to more “upscale” places like Lupo Verde, Ripple, Poste or Fogo but you’re going to pay for it.

    • We did ours at DGS last summer — they can do the upstairs with a hard cap of 46 or so. Came out great though we had to prod a bit to get them to do a more creative menu than the standard. The pricing was really, really sweet too and it was just a flat fee for food and space and not pro-rated per person if that matters.

  • yes, check out Big Bear Cafe (first and R).. quite a few people in Bloomingdale have been going there for rehearsals and parties. It is lovely with a quiet side garden, and Stu will work with you on budget and menu.

    ps. we have been going for dinner fairly regularly and the chef Quentin and beverage mgr Robert are fabulous

  • We used Firefly for our rehearsal dinner. We actually rented out the entire space because we had about 75-100 people (a ton of out of towners). My sister used carmines in chinatown. They have a lot of private rooms and family style food, and would probably be a more affordable option in DC.

    • we had ours at Firefly as well and I was actually disappointed in the food. Which sucks because I LOVE the food there. I didn’t like the choices for the set menu.

      • I haven’t been there in close to a year. I think they changed out their chef though. I really need to check it out again. Nice vibe and always had good service.

  • Sonoma on Capitol Hill has a sizeable upstairs that is available for private functions.

  • Lots of people have been going to Pinstripes in Georgetown recently.

  • We had a great rehearsal dinner at Floriana. They have a private room upstairs, and the staff and food were both wonderful.

  • Darlington House at DuPont circle has a really nice event library upstairs. They can do a 50 person seated dinner, they’re right outside of the metro on the red line and they have valet parking for $8 per car on the weekends. Ask for Anastasia, the event manager, she helped us coordinate ours and it was great!

  • The best option for our October wedding at the Omni Shoreham was Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan. We had the whole second floor to ourselves and the pizza was delicious! Buffet styles made it way more aforablde. We were also looking into Hill Country but we woudl only have half of the downstairs with our group (50 people) and it was very pricey. good luck!

  • We went to Matchbox on 14th St. and sat up in the 3rd level and it was fantastic – reasonably priced too!

  • Fourth Estate @ National Press Club is lovely, obviously on the pricy side.

    I wonder if you can rent out the private room @ Busboys & Poets on 14th?

  • My wife and I had ours at RFD in Chinatown in the back room, it was low key and perfect.


  • Lavagna! My coworker had hers their and still raves about it. They had the upstairs to themselves with about 50 guests and there’s an extra set of bathrooms upstairs for convenience. Fun, family style italian.

    • I held a corporate event at Lavagna last year. We did a buy out so that we could have a cocktail hour upstairs and plated dinner downstairs. The food and service were terrific, as was the pricing.

  • The Hamilton has a private upstairs space (the Loft) and is generally affordable.

    Also Agora in east Dupont has a private upstairs space that can handle a group that size (not sure about pricing).

    • Agora is a $3,500 min at about $45/person (not including booze) which all things considered, is not bad

  • Clydes Gallery Place is well priced and has a really nice private room. They even put small flower arrangements on the tables.

  • I’ve been to two rehearsal dinners at Carmine’s and thought they did a great job with family-style Italian food. I know one of my friends who held her dinner there was on a very tight budget and everyone left the party full and happy 🙂 It may not be everyone’s favorite restaurant style — it’s a chain, after all — bit it really works when it works.

  • Some places to consider – Darlington House; City Tap House; Urbana; Room 11 (I’ve seen it rented out before); I wonder if you could reserve the orangerie at Le Diplomat?

  • Above Cork, the wine store on 14th they’ve got a really cute space up there!

  • DC Coast has a downstairs dining room. We had about 30, and I think 10-15 more could have fit comfortably.

    • Pi in Chinatown, if you want to go low-key-but-upscale (fancy pizza). IIRC, their minimum equates to about $25 pp, which isn’t bad for pies and wine (and much more affordable than Matchbox, which is closer to $40-50 pp). I *think* they have a separate private room, but they can also put your group on the mezzanine level.

    • Sorry, didn’t mean to directly reply to @dcd

  • If you are looking for something more unique and low-key, we had our rehearsal dinner for 40 at Cafe Mozart. We rented out the backroom and they had musicians playing German folklore music as well. The food and the BEER was awesome and the total price was very affordable compare to other fancy restaurants downtown.

  • I did a lot of research on this for a family member’s wedding – we ultimately settled on Chef Geoff’s up on New Mexico Ave in NW. It’s a little out of the way but had the most reasonable catering menu plus a private room in the back that seats up to about 50. We looked at a bunch of the other places listed here (Darlington House, Firefly, Old Ebbitt, Clyde’s, etc.) and CG was the best price. The food was good.

  • Not really downtown, but Lia’s in Chevy Chase has a great private “wine” room and were great to work with. I think it holds up to 55.

  • JOe’s Stone Crab has great private space.

  • We had ours at Tonic in Foggy Bottom and worked with Brianna. Tonic worked great for what we wanted – a sit down dinner for 25 and then an open house for 75+. The staff broke down all the tables and the space opened up so that all of our wedding guests could join us after an intimate wedding party dinner. Brianna helped us design a menu. We had our own fully stocked and staff bar. There was no room rental fee – we just had to hit a minimum of $2,500. This could include our dinner, the bar, and gratuity. They also surprised us with personalized menus which was really sweet. I would highly recommend Tonic. Their food was also very yummy!

  • The tabard inn is a fantastic place for events & reasonably priced in a great location. Give them a call.

  • Driftwood Kitchen on H Street has a lovely upstairs with a separate bar and dining space that I know they rent out for private functions (I accidentally crashed one last weekend) — plus the walls are all glass and can open up if the weather cooperates. I have no idea of price but the owner is really into meeting neighbors and making the community feel welcome. Food’s good; drinks are fantastic.

  • My husband and I recently hosted our rehearsal dinner in March at Matchbox (14th street location). It was great- excellent pizza, wine and beer selections. Had a total of 50 people.

  • Firehouse on North Cap and Quincy Pl. The upstairs is GORGEOUS and perfect for a rehearsal dinner.

    AND the food is amazing.


  • Upstairs at Acqua Al 2 across from Eastern Market….

  • I can’t say enough good things about our rehearsal at Kellari. Space is lovely and handicap accessible. Food is delicious. The service was absolutely fantastic and they really made us feel special. They still take special care of us whenever we go! And it’s right by the metro with easy parking on weekends.

  • The Sphinx Club, at 14th and K, next to Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, allows one to bring own caterer I.e. any store bought food. They have small spaces and well as a large ball room. Very reasonable rent.

  • We rented out the back room at Rosemary’s Thyme and had about 55 people. It was reasonably priced, we had a lot of food choices, and they were lovely to deal with. We were regulars there anyway, so it meant something to us, but I would recommend to anyone looking for a tasteful but not fussy dinner.

  • We had ours at Acadiana. They have a private room that I believe holds 60 people seated. Menu was totally reasonable for upscale dining. Would absolutely recommend! Food was awesome.

  • Shaws Tavern! They have a great upstairs event space with a private bar. Food and pricing are both great.

  • We had ours at the Spy Museum. There was an hour for guests to enjoy the museum before dinner. Worked out great. They have a catering arrangement with Ridgewells. great and fun for all.

  • Mei Wah in West End. I went to a rehearsal dinner there once, it was great and the groom said it was the easiest contract of the event.

  • roofers union in admo.

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